Growing up in Michigan, early March is still mid-winter. After months of sleet, slush, and ice, I’d be dreaming of white sand beaches and Mediterranean cities. Now that I live in California, I don’t miss the frigid temperatures, but I still get the travel itch. I long to explore the ancient temples of Vietnam, experience the beauty of the Bolshoi ballet in Moscow, or traverse the Basque countryside in Spain a la The Sun Also Rises.
I remind myself that the “travel itch” is actually a desire to break with a routine point of view, and, fortunately, there’s no need to crisscross the world for a dose of perspective. A beautiful photograph or work of art can open our minds just like wandering the streets of Paris or trekking the Great Wall of China.
In browsing the beautiful art featured on NiQOO, I came across a few photographs that shifted my perspective. Nima Chaichi’s photograph, “Duality,” shows a young woman peering through a small window with the entire sky reflected in the glass. The image reminds me of the very small view we have of our expansive world. Laurent Nivalle’s photograph of an old car speeding down a European highway, “Anonym-LI,” reminds me of the exhilaration of being on the road, of going somewhere, and moving forward. Ricardo Reis’ photograph, “People Everywhere, Everyone’s Alone,” captures the familiar scene of people crossing the street, but from a birds-eye view.
The imagery of these works opened my mind to the beauty in my own day-to-day experience. Wandering the streets of my neighborhood in Venice, California I noticed the sweet almond smell of a cappuccino at my favorite coffee shop; a cherry-red dress displayed in a boutique window, and the honey perfume of desert flowers growing through the sidewalk cracks. I could have enjoyed a hot chocolate in one of Madrid’s renowned cafes, or appreciated the vibrant hues of handcrafted skirts in an Antiguan market, or filled my lungs with the scent of fresh cut grass in the English countryside, and the feeling would be the same.
My grandmother used to remind me of the old saying, “stop to smell the roses.” I think I understand the phrase more now. Why wait for a vacation to absorb the beauty of strange places, when we are surrounded by beauty every day in our own backyards?
The next time you have the “travel itch,” consider perusing NiQOO’s beautiful photography collection, visiting a local art gallery, or taking a stroll through your own neighborhood. What beauty do you notice? Feel free to share your stories.
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See published article on NiQOO’s blog here.